Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:10 pm
Wonderful trip you had, for sure. I wish I could have gone along. My previous trips to Germany have been equally as fascinating. Therefore I have some "two cents" to add.
Autobahn: "autobahn at speeds of 90-100 mph. Even so, we were often passed in the no-speed-limit zones by cars going much faster. " When those big Mercedes and BMW's zipped by you at 200-240 kph they were going 124-150 mph. No kidding.... Germans love their big cars and the Autobahn. I've wound up much lesser rental vehicles on parts of the Autobahn to over the 200 kph mark, so I'm sure you definitely kept in the right-hand lanes. Not like here on 580 or 680 where everybody going 50 mph is in the left hand lane.
Munich is a beautiful city and region, but so are others in Germany. I don't know if it really is the wealthiest because Germany is rich with economically wealthy regions, mostly in the former West Germany but eastern areas are growing, such as Dresden where, for example, AMD has a significant semiconductor plant. I have visited many parts and found all fascinating and beautiful... Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Munich, locations south such as Garmisch in the Alps, northern Germany including Hamburg, Hannover, Schwerin, Dresden, Gottingen, Bremerhaven, and regions such as Brocken in the Harz mountains, Die Sachsiche Schweis which is north of Dresden, Eisenach (Martin Luther's home), the Wattenmeer, etc.
At Dachau did you buy the museum book that chronicles the concentration camp's history including examples of the records of it atrocities? Perhaps the most cynical phrase of the twentieth century is found embedded in Dachau's iron gates (also at Auschwitz): "Arbeit macht frei". Originally it was the site of a munition factory and thereafter a practice range for the SchutzStaffel (the SS, who were very infamous). At first they killed prisoners by shooting them, but this was inefficient so eventually they built gas chambers for efficient mass killing and ovens to get rid of the bodies. Jews, communists, Roma, homosexuals, and sometimes Catholics, war prisoners, and other political undesirables.
Munich - recommended to go during Octoberfest (which occurs in September and ends the first Sunday in October). One of the world's greatest parties that ranks with Carnevale (each night get a seat inside one of the big beer tents early before they close the doors due to full capacity - learn to sing "ein prosen ein prosen gemutlichkiet").
Besides the nearby Dachau site, Munich and it's Marienplatz was Hitler's launching platform, and later was the site of some other infamous history, like the White Rose.
So, after sitting at an outdoor restaurant on the Marienplatz downing an "ein mas" and watching the Glockenspiel in the Rathaus play together with some other American tourists who are happen to be there on a tour schedule, you will have the freedom to stroll north up the Louisenstrasse toward the University of Munchen. As you walk you will see there are university buildings on both the right and left sides of the street. You will encounter a library building on the left that houses a small museum, whose entire collection is dedicated to the White Rose.
In 1943 the six core members of this non-violent resistance group to the Nazis were beheaded within hours after an infamous trial run by Hitler's "blood judge", Roland Freisler, who sent at least 3000 people to their death in similar trials. Five were students including Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie Scholl. Their guilt was handing out anti-Hitler leaflets at the University. Go here to listen to how he shouted at various defendants who trembled as he sent them to their death. Web Link
And go here to read about the White Rose: Web Link
Munich is a beautiful place to visit but we sometimes forget its horror.